Monitor: Know these trends when crafting your Expo East game plan

Natural Products Industry Health Monitor, Sept.15, 2022
 
As the world emerges, haltingly from COVID-19, new challenges emerge. In this feature, New Hope Network provides an ongoing update on those challenges and the opportunities they hold. Look for the Industry Health Monitor every other Friday to learn the major news that is affecting the natural products market immediately and the less obvious insights that could dictate where the market may struggle or thrive in the months to come.

As the industry counts down the days until the floor opens at Natural Products Expo East, retailers, investors and service providers are drawing up game plans for hitting the right booths and talking to the right people. But making that game plan work means knowing which trends are on the horizon and which trends are growing right now.

New Hope is ready to help.

From its privileged position at the crossroads of all things natural, New Hope’s NEXT Data & Insights team sees innovators leading with triple-bottom-line strategies, ancient and time-honored ingredients, and exotic flavors. Meanwhile, other innovations are sync up with key consumer health and wellness priorities: improving digestive health, eating more plants, reducing waste and packaging products responsibly.

For the details you need in creating a succesful game plan, the NEXT Trend Guidebook is available here, but you can expect to see the following trends on the floor at Expo East.

Business beyond profit: Brands are incorporating a triple bottom line ethos by rethinking how they conduct business. They are aiming beyond profits and reducing negative impact on people and planet.

Time-honored heritage ingredients: Too much of our food comes from seeds and crops bred for durability and shelf stability, but consumers and smart brands are bringing long-lost ancestral ingredients back into the lexicon of nutrition. These ingredients are rich in culture, history and nutrients.

Digestive healthIt’s more than just regularity. Our digestive health can make or break how we feel, and consumers are increasingly on a quest to improve their health via their digestive system. Formulations from fiber to probiotics are addressing strengthening the gut and the health outcomes it affects.  

Plant-based ethics: The ugly side effects of the livestock industry drive consumers to opt for more plants as they either reduce or avoid animal-based foods entirely. Be on the lookout for brands digging into why their ethical plant-hero outperforms other competitors in the battle for most sustainable.

Reducing waste: Brands and businesses are stepping up with clever ideas to reduce and remove waste along various steps and corners in the supply chain. Through by-product turned value add or ingredient optimization ideation, waste otherwise known as a pollutant turns into energy or edible food.

Eat more plants: From omnivores to vegans, the goal is to incorporate more nutrient-dense plants in the diet. Brands are creatively catering to picky children avoiding spinach and broccoli, adventurous adults seeking the latest exotic plant superstar or botanical inclusion, and consumers seeking meat and dairy alternatives.

Responsible packaging: So much emphasis has been on the focus of what goes inside the package, but the industry is starting to think beyond the product and identifying alternatives to the packaging itself.

Sugar vilified: The industry is fractured on how to deal with the negative turmoil surrounding sugar. Innovation in sweetners is multipronged, with low-glycemic, food-based sweeteners and zero-calorie alternatives, or redefining the sensation of sweet cravings with new flavors (savory, bitter) and formats (sparkling).

Flavor adventuring: Cutting-edge brands are pushing the envelope with exotic flavor infusions from global exploration.

Regenerative agriculture: Enthusiasts around regenerative agriculture promote a paradigm shift that there is a solution that rebuilds, repairs and replenishes our natural resources through ecological practices. This is instead of current sustainability efforts that while well-intentioned, are aimed at solving climate problems through limited resources—working within our vanishing resources to prevent further loss of biodiversity, soil, and forests.

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